I would like to introduce my friend, Sylvia Kelso, Aurealis Award nominee, and author of Everran’s Bane, The Moving Water, The Red Country, The Seagull, Amberlight, Riversend, Source, the Blackston Gold series, and her latest novella, “Spring in Geneva,” all of which are available via Amazon.

Geneva - Cover-3

See more including sample chapters on  http://www.sylviakelso.com/

1. How would you characterize your fiction? Are you writing to/for a particular audience or audiences?

Once I could have said, I think of my work as moral swords-and-sorcery – more emphasis on the ethics of using magic and might than on the tin-clashing. But though that fits even the unpublished Everran novels, the Amberlight series is more of an sf/fantasy genre straddler, and its focus is gender politics. And the Blackston Gold books you’d could only call fantasy crossed with time romance, adding a streak of mystery and police procedural, while “Spring in Geneva” is unabashed swash-and-buckle, with a dash of steampunk. Though like its close ancestor Frankenstein, it is concerned with the morality of science. Similarly, I suppose Blackston Gold is concerned with ecological morality. So maybe a concern with morality is the overall attribute. In my eyes, at least.

Once I used to try to write to an ideal fantasy reader who would get all the allusions and follow all the smart bits. Now, after a bunch of books and some very kind work-in- progress readers, I find myself concerned less with the target audience and more with anticipating clarity. Is this or that going to give a reader the correct meaning at first and perhaps only glance?

2. What writers have been major influences in your work and why?

In fantasy, Tolkien above all others, for the world-building detail, and the way LotR in particular conveys not only a living and loved landscape, but a sense of its long history.

Overall, Mary Renault, who could make dialogue mean more, and leave out more superfluous explanation, than almost any other novelist I ever read. But of course, writers collect something from everyone they read. It’s like spores off plants and flowers on your clothes as you walk past.

3. You have had some/or have some forthcoming work.  Tell us about those and what your readers can expect.  Continuing stories? New territories?

For already-out, 2013 was a good year for me, in short fiction. Two longer short stories written in 2012 both came out in 2013, along with “Spring in Geneva.” I was very happy especially because, unusually for me, all three were written not only in another time, but in settings I’ve never personally seen. I dislike generic settings of any sort, urban OR rural, so when I write anything set in “our” world, I like to visit the place: see the colour ranges, get a sense of the light as well as the layout.

With “The Honour of the Ferrocarril,” however, the Black Gang, or Creative Crew, decided we would write a steampunk vampire story set in the land of real vampires, ie. South America, and I ended up doing big research on the astounding 19th century railways of Peru, a place I have still never been. With “The Price of Kush” the same thing happened, only this time the setting was Africa, around 1500 BC. I was quite happy with the even larger amount of research, but more uncomfortable with second hand sources for the light values and the landscape, alas.

And for “Spring in Geneva,” which is set in 1818 and has the swash-and-buckle’s suitable amount of street chases, duels, and horseback road-hunts, I found myself working out streets in the Old Town of Geneva on Google, and hunting up Net images of the town. Thank goodness FOR Google, but all the same, I wd. have preferred to use my own eyes.

In oncoming work, in December I signed a contract for the 4th Amberlight book, Dragonfly, with Jupiter Gardens Press, who published its forerunner, Source. I was delighted  because Dragonfly is in many ways the Amberlight novel nearest to my heart. Firstly, it’s a daughter-of, second generation story, so it fulfills one of my favourite writing itches, finding out What Happened After the Ending.

In Dragonfly’s case, it was 4 years after Source before the Black Gang had an answer to that. And said answer pushes the envelope for romantic relationships in a way still not much mentioned or accepted, even in these days of race, gender and sexuality awareness. That is, a relationship, as in Lolita, possibly too far across the age barrier.

It proved almost so for at least three of my work-in-progress readers, and I did quite a bit of micro-revision to keep the age difference but make it palatable before I sent off the ms to anyone. So for both those reasons I was very happy to have a contract for this one!

In current works-in-progress, I have two stalled novellas on the blocks, and now an invite to contribute a story to an anthology on “Cranky Ladies in History;” which has led to revising an entire old historical novel, that I think I’d now like to get published in its own right, at least after tinkering. But I’m very little further forward with the short story, alas. It may well prove to be new territory, if I only knew where.

4.  What advice do you have for new and aspiring writers?

As I’ve said before, don’t quit your day job till your advance offer tops $500,000, and never say about a requested revision, It can’t be done.

5. Is there a question you wish you would be asked and if so, what is the question and what might your answer?

One I’ve been asked elsewhere, always helpful to writers, is:

Give me one thing you want readers to remember after they finish this blog?

To which my answer would be:

The names of those latest works? “Spring in Geneva” now, and, I hope, sometime in 2014, Dragonfly.

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